The game of cat and mouse continues. On August 7, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) postponed its consideration of the application from the exchange Cboe BZX, which asks to change the rules so that Bitcoin ETFs from the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust could be released to the market. The question was postponed until September 30, and by its shift, the SEC follows the same path that led to the rejection of the ETF which the Winklevoss brothers, the owners of several hundred-thousand Bitcoins, had asked for. And yet, an ETF is likely to be approved, if not from the Winklevoss brothers or the Cboe BZX, then from other applicants. And if this does not happen in the current year, then it will in the next year for sure. The investment fund Canaccord Genuity is certain of this, where they consider the approximate date of ETF approval to be March 2019. A closer date of February 27 of next year is also voiced by lawyer Jake Chervinsky.
Be that as it may, the question arises: why is the cryptocurrency world mostly so pleased that the traditional classical financial tool, the ETF, will start working on the basis of cryptocurrencies? Among the usual arguments is the fact that ETF will bring the money of institutional investors into the market. Everything else indicates, however, that this money is already in the market, and cryptocurrencies are not growing. Moreover, the market reacted with a decrease in the value of most cryptocurrencies to the decision of the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which owns the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), to launch the Bakkt crypto exchange platform in November. It is noteworthy that the head of Binance, the world's largest crypto exchange, Changpeng Zhao, spoke very coldly about the news from the ICE. It became obvious from his tweet that he was calm about the appearance of the "next" platform, making it clear that they would play by absolutely different rules.
Only Tom Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors found a reason for optimism, drawing attention to the fact that the share of Bitcoin in the market has grown. Why did the market ignore the news, which at any other time would have caused a noticeable rally? A well-known investment manager, Caitlin Long, explains this by saying that at least some investors were worried about possible negative consequences of the fact that cryptocurrencies can eventually be integrated with existing financial instruments and sites for asset trading. It is noteworthy that an important statement was made: the arrival of institutional investors is not necessarily a boon for cryptocurrencies, but further arguments by Caitlin Long need to be clarified.
Long rightly believes that the main problem that can arise when experts from Wall Street begin to deal with cryptocurrencies, one of whom she is herself, is that the phenomenon of "paper Bitcoin" can arise. The point is that both ETF and other types of trading, including derivatives for cryptocurrencies, can lead to the fact that the volume of trade in such instruments may exceed the number of available crypto coins just as trades with "paper oil" are conducted on a number of barrels of this raw material, which does not exist in reality.
And further, Long concludes that if such an approach is applied, it will lead to the fact that the holders (hodlers) of cryptocurrencies will easily bankrupt the traders on Wall Street, who will try to operate with cryptos under the previous scheme, as with other assets. This statement is based on the assumption that it is practically impossible for anyone to gain control over Bitcoins or other cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile, as noted in Canaccord Genuity, "less than two years ago, Chinese investors accounted for about 90 percent of all Bitcoins," which meant that the risk of dependence of this cryptocurrency on the decisions of the Chinese authorities appeared even back then. In addition, there is no certainty that owners of large amounts of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies do not prefer to keep them in a "cold wallet,” for example, in the investment bank of Goldman Sachs, which is developing such a project, while not concealing its skepticism against cryptocurrencies. Doesn’t this look like a trap?
Many crypto investors, such as the billionaires Mike Novogratz and Bill Miller, are used to working with other assets that are "safely stored" by large trading platforms, such as storages at the London Metal Exchange. Such "storages" exist for securities in the form of deposits. The offered storage services for cryptocurrencies look logical from the point of view of players in the traditional financial market and are imposed as a necessary condition for "institutional investors to buy cryptocurrencies.” It is hardly worth counting on the fact that the situation will not follow the path of other assets. "Paper Bitcoin" is a reality that will necessarily arise if the integration of cryptocurrencies into the classical world of finance follows the rules of the latter. Caitlin Long, while praising the fact that Bitcoin futures are conducted precisely on the basis of real cryptos, and that the guarantee for them exceeds 100 percent, says that the pressure on increasing the volume of trade in such instruments will increase, and this will lead to the appearance of "paper Bitcoin,” unsecured by any real cryptocurrency.
Indeed, the whole modern, traditional financial world is based on the fact that trading with leverage, or with a large leverage, is not just an opportunity, but even a necessity. In addition, traded assets must be "locked up" from centralized structures. These are the rules, but is it worth it for the cryptocurrencies to adjust to them for the sake of attracting some supposed institutional investors' money?
"Paper oil" proved that despite a large amount of money being pumped into futures for this raw material, the price dynamics for it were not always positive, and when it demonstrated price growth, this "coincided" with the geopolitical intentions of the U.S. authorities and their allies. Bitcoin can then become a manipulative asset, like most assets, which are traded on classic exchanges. It is no coincidence that the U.S. is trying to bring natural gas trade to the same level of securitization as oil deals. First, it is proposed to tie the world price of this raw material to the cost in the port of Louisiana, and then launch futures for natural gas. After that, it will be possible to forget about free market pricing for this raw material.
A similar situation is taking place with the U.S. dollar, which became "paper squared.” Businessman Robert Kiyosaki believes that the uncontrolled emission of the U.S. dollar and the refusal in 1971 of gold securities turned these papers into a "fake,” which will be replaced by Bitcoins, gold, and silver.
There is a loss of confidence in most assets in the world, which is expressed in the absence of predictability and justification for changing their prices. The lack of transparency in decision-making, for example, in terms of U.S. dollar emissions, is also evident. At the same time, the classical financial world represented by the ICE assumes exactly the opposite, as declared by president Jeffrey Sprecher that the ICE intends to "bring transparency and trust to previously unregulated markets” of cryptocurrencies with the help of Bakkt.
To begin with, it would be worthwhile to suggest that the exchanges try to work with future cryptocurrencies that the central banks of some countries will release (CBDC), but in this case it would become obvious that the rates of such cryptos will not be on par with the market.
It is obvious that central bank-issued cryptocurrencies are offered to play by the rules, which, firstly, are written for traditional assets, according to which "paper trading" is the norm. Secondly, it is not proposed to change these rules to include those principles that the cryptocurrencies abide by, and thirdly, the benefits of such a partnership are not voiced in any way. A single gate game for the cryptocurrency market is not just a losing one, but a dangerous one, because their identity, which is based on decentralization, as well as on the priority of not trading but using cryptos, may be lost, and when faced with stronger competitors and forced to play by their rules, the crypto market will inevitably lose.
It would be fairer if the cryptocurrencies that embody the modern technologies of blockchain became the establishers of financial trends themselves. In this sense, the Australian billionaire Fred Schebesta, who intends to open a crypto bank, is right. To do this, he will use the existing credit institution, in Australia, in which Schebesta is one of the owners, and convert it into a new institution that operates according to the rules of the cryptocurrency market. Thus, it is not banks that start using cryptocurrencies but cryptocurrencies start using existing credit organizations, transforming them to suit their own principles. The same should take place and in the channels of cryptocurrencies and stock exchange cooperation.